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Section 12: Strapping the Distributor

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Before and after each distributor load of asphalt is sprayed, the asphalt distributor should be strapped. The term “strapped” means a calibrated measuring stick is used to measure the asphalt in the tank. For strip/spot seal coat work, generally the asphalt distributor should be strapped before and after all work is completed for each roadway or at the end of the day, whichever occurs first. When using a computerized asphalt distributor for strip/spot seal coat, the asphalt quantity can be obtained from the gauges on the equipment and strapping is only necessary for calibration purposes.

If payment is by volume, it is necessary to strap the distributor to keep an accurate record of the amount of asphalt that is used on the project. If payment is by weight, the distributor must be strapped to verify the application rate.


Determining Asphalt Application Rate

Strapping the distributor is important for pay purposes and also for determining the average asphalt application rate for each shot. This allows for immediate information needed to make adjustments from one shot to the next. The following procedure may be used to strap the distributor:

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  • Immediately before and after the asphalt shot, the operator should stop the distributor on a level spot. The tank must be as level as possible. Some distributors have a level attached to the tank. If not, a 3 to 4-foot carpenter’s level may be used.
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  • The strap stick should be clean so that the level of asphalt can be easily read. The manhole cover at the top of the tank should be opened, and the strap stick inserted into the tank holding it as nearly vertical as possible.
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  • The strap stick should be lowered down into the asphalt until it touches the bottom of the tank.
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  • The strap stick should then be removed from the tank. The number of gallons is read at the top of the line covered by asphalt. On some distributor models, the strap stick itself is not graduated and must be held up against a graduated scale mounted on the side of the tank.


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Area of Asphalt Shot

5625 SY

Gallons before asphalt shot

2000 gal

Gallons after asphalt shot

225 gal

Gallons used for asphalt shot

2000 – 225 = 1775 gal

Average application rate

= 0.315 gal/SY

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